Posted by Ali Cloak, Partner
Seven-figure settlement secured for client who underwent amputation due to negligent orthopaedic treatment
Ali Cloak, Senior Associate in our Bath office, secured a seven-figure sum for her client who was had to undergo an amputation following negligent treatment on the part of her orthopaedic surgeon, and later, her GP.
Our client was in her 50s when she underwent an operation to her left knee in August 2008 following an a traumatic fracture. The surgeon attempted to fix a fracture in her femur by inserting three screws into the bone. The operation failed and she underwent a second revision operation a month later.
In the years that followed, our client underwent a further four operations to her knee, including a total left knee replacement and an operation to reconstruct her extensor tendon. Following her sixth surgery she developed an infection. Our client consulted her GP repeatedly but, despite exhibiting concerning symptoms, was not referred back to hospital. She only saw her surgeon at the standard follow up appointment several weeks later, by which time the infection was well established. She was re-admitted for intensive antibiotic therapy and required five operations to washout and debride her knee.
Unfortunately, the infection could not be eradicated and several months later she was told that revision surgery was not an option. She was at risk of bone loss in the future due to the infection and was placed on suppressive antibiotics. Ultimately, she required a high above knee amputation which left her significantly disabled. She also suffered psychiatric injury, and cognitive impairment arising from chronic infection, and sustained use of painkillers and antibiotics.
Due to the successive failings in our client’s care, over a number of years, the case was legally and medically complex. After obtaining an initial expert report from a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon we were able to prove that the initial procedure was substandard and if the correct fixation method had been adopted she would have had a relatively straightforward recovery and would not have required the revision procedure.
A claim was also brought against her treating GP, for failing to refer her back to the hospital when she presented repeatedly with signs of infection in her post-operative knee. With appropriate treatment, our client would have avoided a number of operations, as well as the amputation.
With specialist input from experts in accommodation, care, occupational therapy, rehabilitation, prosthetics and physiotherapy experts we were able to establish exactly what our client would need to try to adjust to her injuries as far as possible
Her settlement included money for a wide range of adaptations, equipment and therapies so she could live as independently as possible:
- mobility aids
- home adaptations
- rehabilitative treatment and prosthetic provision
- costs of private care throughout her lifetime
- loss of earnings and loss of pension
If you want to find out more about making a claim for negligent orthopaedic treatment please contact our specialist team.
0800 923 2080 Email us